• Otávio Santiago

This video shows why sharks often mistake humans for prey




Among surfers, there’s a commonly held belief that shark attacks are mostly a case of mistaken identity. The apex predators take a bite out of swimmers because they resemble seals and sea lions—especially when they’re on a surfboard. New video footage suggests this may indeed be the case.


Great whites and other sharks hunt from below, relying on the contrast of their prey backlit by the light above. As the video shows, the similarities between a seal and surfer from this angle are significant, especially to a shark.


But the video doesn’t represent other details about how great whites see the world: Like many sharks that bite people, the animals view their surroundings in fewer “frames” per second compared with humans. Their color perception is also mostly limited to shades of blues and greens, and they cannot resolve shapes as accurately as we do.

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